Has San Angelo Reached Peak Coronavirus?
SAN ANGELO, TX — For the last 138 days, San Angelo LIVE has provided a daily coronavirus update on the cases and deaths confirmed in Tom Green County. The daily reports of the number of people who have tested positive in the county — and those who tested positive here but live elsewhere — has become a familiar drone in the background reminding us that COVID-19 is here, but not much else.
Every day the reported cases seem to tell a different story. Individually the numbers don't establish a consistent trend, but rather show a scattered arrangement of numbers that can exceed 100 in one day and less than 30 in another, all in the same week. Tom Green County, like much of Texas, seems to have peaked several weeks after the initial hotspots broke out. Understanding how the cases fluctuate can provide a clearer view of how coronavirus is impacting the community. What about the trends? And do the trends show us anything?
Here, COVID-19 positive case counts will be shown using graphs that illustrate the ups and downs of positive cases in Tom Green County per month.
As of last Thursday afternoon, the city had confirmed a total of 2,560 cases. Based on the data presented on Wednesday by the city, at least 80 percent of the patients who test positive have listed Tom Green as their county of residence.
This would theoretically create a daily rate of 18.8 cases since March 24th, when the first case was reported in Tom Green County.
The monthly case breakdown since last Wednesday is as follows:
- March — 9 cases
- April — 43 cases
- May — 49 cases
- June — 297 cases
- July — 1,912
- August — 250
For the first three months of the pandemic, the numbers appeared to indicate a relatively slow rate in the uptick of cases. Between March, April, and May only 101 cases were confirmed.
The numbers for March are relatively low, as they only account for the last eight days of the month. The data show April and May remained in the 40s.
Above: March 2020 COVID-19 positive cases reported by day.
Above: April 2020 COVID-19 positive cases reported by day.
Above: May 2020 COVID-19 positive cases reported by day.
By contrast in June, July, and August the city reported a total of 2,459 cases so far. The last three months have had 24 times more the number of positive cases than the previous three.
Furthermore, even with scattered daily trends, there has been a significant increase from month to month.
Between May and June, the number of cases was more than six times in June than those reported in May.
The trend continued, and the number of positive cases in July was once again more than 6 times the cases reported in June.
With just six days into August, the numbers appear to continue their steady incline as they reach 250 new cases. When compared to the first six days of July, which had 290 new cases, a similar trend appears to be forming.
As the pandemic enters its sixth month, it is unclear what will happen in the upcoming weeks.
If the nearly 2,000 cases a month trend continues the county could surpass 10,000 by the end of November.
Above: June 2020 COVID-19 positive cases reported by day.
Above: July 2020 COVID-19 positive cases reported by day.
Above: August 2020 COVID-19 positive cases reported by day.
Now while the numbers can be alarming, it is also important to put them in the context of the overall population of Tom Green County.
With an approximate population of 118,000 residents, a little more than two percent of the population has tested positive in the last 136 days.
If San Angelo was to surpass 10,000 cases, that would account for nearly nine percent of the county's population contracting the virus in nine months.
By comparison, Travis County, whose population is more than 10 times that of Tom Green County, has reported more than 22,000 cases. According to the data presented by the Texas Department of State Health Services, Travis County reported its first case only nine days before San Angelo.
According to the DSHS data this is the number of positive PCR tests confirmed in Travis County:
- March — 206
- April — 1,385
- May — 1,641
- June — 5,737
- July — 11,496
- August — 1,559
The number of cases increased by more than 6.7 times between March and April. Between April and May the cases have remained relatively steady.
Travis County's number of cases increased by 3.5 times between June and May. By any indication the numbers continue to rise in Travis County.
Even with more than 22,000 cases, according to the data less than two percent of the overall population of Travis County has contracted the virus, similar to Tom Green County.
The following graphic shows the growth of COVID-19 cases in Travis County and Tom Green for the last 136 days. The numbers show a the cases are increasing and consistent with their population size.
Above: Total positive PCR positivity of COVID-19 tests based on overall population comparisons between Travis and Tom Green County.
So have COVID-19 infections peaked in Tom Green County? If the current trend for the first week of August is the indication, then the answer is likely yes. You decide.
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